News

Air Force begins recovery of helicopter crash airmen

Air Force begins recovery of helicopter crash airmen

CRASH: police officer stands by a Pave Hawk helicopter, at the scene of a helicopter crash on the coast near the village of Cley next the Sea in Norfolk, eastern England Jan. 8. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force will start to recover on Thursday the bodies of four American airmen from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed two days ago in remote coastal marshland in eastern England, British police said.

The recovery of the bodies has been delayed by the scattering of a “significant” amount of bullets and munitions after the helicopter came down in a Norfolk nature reserve while on a low-level training mission on Tuesday evening.

The site, described by police as the size of a soccer pitch, remains cordoned off to the public following a visit by investigators on Wednesday evening. The area of flat coastal grassland lies about 130 miles northeast of London.

“Police and other agencies remain on scene today as the investigation continues and will ensure the recovery of the bodies is dignified and respectful,” Chief Superintendent Bob Scully of Norfolk Police said in a statement.

“The scene is on difficult ground and the longer term investigation and recovery work will take many more weeks.”

The helicopter was a Pave Hawk assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath air base. A second helicopter taking part in the training mission landed safely.

Colonel Kyle Robinson, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, described the accident as a “tragic loss” and said it was too soon to say why the crash happened despite speculation in the British media that birds may have been to blame.

“It is still too early to speculate as to what caused the crash and to make any long-term decisions based on that,” Robinson told a news conference at RAF Lakenheath on Thursday.

The four men on board were named as Captain Christopher S. Stover, Captain Sean M. Ruane, Technical Sergeant Dale E. Mathews and Staff Sergeant Afton M. Ponce.

The Pave Hawk is made by Sikorsky Aircraft Co, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith and Costas Pitas; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Rauner’s Inauguration Committee Announces Concert Lineup

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Country star, blues legend part of the festivities

in Local

US Senator Kirk Sounds Alarm in Wake of Sony “Hack Attack”

mark-kirk

May ask Sony executives to appear in Washington DC

in Local

No One Injured in Sunday Shootings, Police Looking for Suspects

gun

No one's in custody yet after a pair of shootings on Springfield's east side Sunday afternoon.

in Local

Mayor Houston Releases Proposed Budget Numbers

municipalcenter

Council to begin discussions next month

in Local

Governor Makes Annual Trip to Visit Wounded Illinois Soldiers

american flag

Also urges others to donate frequent flier miles